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Borrower entitled to retrial on judgment, COA rules

January 15, 2013

A Steuben Circuit Court committed reversible error when it failed to admit into evidence an exhibit purporting to show that a borrower had repaid a $650,000 promissory note, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

John Pichon was ordered to pay a judgment of $1,189,105 plus interest after a bench trial in which American Heritage Banco alleged that he and others conspired with officers of National Bank of Fremont to commit criminal acts and seeking payment on two promissory notes Pichon executed. The case is John Pichon, Jr. v. American Heritage Banco, Inc., et al.,  76A03-1201-PL-4.

“Exhibit A, which is an original of the $650K note stamped 'paid,' is relevant to the issue of whether there is an unpaid balance on that note, and the trial court should have admitted it into evidence. The trial court’s exclusion of Exhibit A prejudiced Pichon to such an extent that we hold it was reversible error,” Judge Edward Najam wrote. “We reverse the trial court’s judgment with respect to the $650K note, only, and remand for a new trial on that issue.”

The court ruled that AHB could sue Pichon on the note; Pichon has waived issues of illegality, accord and satisfaction, and consideration; prejudgment interest is appropriate if AHB prevails on retrial; and that due to the reversal on the $650,000 note, AHB was not entitled to an award of attorney fees.

 

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